Court ruling questions SCO copyright claims

The question of whether or not The SCO Group actually owns the copyright to the Unix System V operating system is still up for...

The question of whether or not The SCO Group actually owns the copyright to the Unix System V operating system is still up for debate, according to a US District Court ruling issued last week.

The ruling came in a slander case, which was launched by SCO against Novell last January.

The case is disputing the precise meaning of a 1996 contract amendment that, SCO says, transferred the Unix copyright.

Novell argues that the amendment provided for a copyright transfer only under certain conditions, and that SCO had failed to meet those conditions.

In his ruling, Judge Dale Kimball appeared to agree that there is at least a question about whether or not Novell transferred the copyright.

"There is enough ambiguity in the language of [the amendment] that, at this point in the litigation, it is questionable whether [the amendment] was meant to convey the required copyrights," wrote Kimball in his ruling.

SCO asked to have the slander case moved to a state court, arguing that the question of whether or not copyrights were transferred was not at issue in this case.

In his ruling, Kimball denied SCO's motion, which means that the case will continue to be heard in federal court.

The judge also denied a Novell motion to dismiss the case outright, writing, "This court cannot conclude that SCO can present no set of facts that would prove its claim."

Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service

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